Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fun With the Electoral College

I've found a site which is loads of fun for the whole politically divided family - 270 to Win. It has a lot of fun and informative (OK, fun if you're a political science major...) maps, charts, and displays. The most fun is a clickable national map where you can play what-if scenarios on the upcoming election.

Remember my post from a few days back? I gave a short-hand explanation of the importance of four states in the general election: Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Have fun with the map trying to construct a win for the Democrats that has only two of those states in the blue column. If the two you pick are Ohio and Florida, the win is pretty easy. Take one of those two away, and the win gets harder. You have to win Pennsylvania if you lose Florida, and you are going to risk it if you lose Pennsylvania and Ohio, but manage to hold Florida and Michigan.

What is important is what other states you have to line up if you lose Florida. Even with Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, it is possible to lose the national election. And those scenarios presume you hold the west coast and every New England state, plus West Virginia and most of the upper midwest. Dems have to hold all of the upper midwest and win New Mexico if they don't get Florida.

With the news today, it sounds like Obama has lost Florida for the Democrats in the general. Battling against seating the delegation was going to be hard to overcome, but the deliberate interference with conducting a new vote combined with the Wright mess will cost the Dems the margin of victory there. The state overwhelmingly supported Hillary, even when Obama had been running his Democrat for a Day operation since last summer and despite his heavy cable ad buys. Had he agreed to allow Florida to be seated (and fought Michigan on the basis of an incomplete ballot), the antipathy would not be so much. You win some, you lose some. Badly.

OK, now go pull up a window with that electoral map and play along. Set it to the default which shows strong Dem/Rep states in blue/red and the swing states in tan. Take a look at the Obama primary states which are firmly red: AK, ID, WY, UT, NE, KS, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC. These are not up for grabs in this electoral round. There simply aren't enough Democratic voters in those states to overcome the Republican dominance, especially as McCain is recovering from his primary battles. Hillary won the popular vote in TX, so I am counting it in her column, OK and AZ. She will not win Arizona from McCain, and she can contest Texas, which does have a sizeable Democratic population, but it is really, really unlikely she can win it. Oklahoma? Fuhgeddaboudit...

As for the Democratic states, she won CA, NY, RI, MI and MA for 119 electoral votes, and Obama won WA, MN, DC, MD, DE, HI, VT and ME for 44. Added together (and tossing in OR), either of them has a good starting point of 174 votes. I do not think it reasonable to say that either of them would lose the core Dem states, though it is possible that Maine and Michigan could defect, given that Maine ahs some strong Republican ties, and that Michigan voted Republican through Reagan and Romney might end up on the Republican ticket. With Obama at the top of the ticket, especially if Romney is the Rep VP, we could lose Michigan.

OK, now we get to do electoral math.

Illinois will go Democrat, regardless of the nominee. If Obama is the nominee, we lose Florida. Period. If Hillary is the nominee, it is possibly in our column. With a Florida win, Dems are over 200. With a Florida loss, we're two ahead. Let's stick with a Florida loss as that is the most statistically likely, regardless of Dem nominee. That means we must win Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Colorado is going to go McCain. Let's give him NH, too, given its voting history. It's now 195/189, D/R.

NV to McCain and NM to Dem., for no added advantage to either side, 200/194. The Dems hold a slim, 6 vote lead.

WI, NJ and CT go blue. It's now 232/194.

At this point, there are 59 winning vote combinations for the Dems and 36 winning combinations for the Reps. Also, at this point, we have almost run out of states where Obama did well. He has Iowa, where his "blowout" in the caucuses needs to be taken with a big grain of salt due to the nature of caucuses, and Virginia, where heavy black turnout gave him a big win, but where he lost the western counties. Remember me telling you that geography is important? We'll be getting to that.

McCain will win Virginia and North Carolina regardless of the Dem nominee. We are now 232/222.

Iowa will go Dem, regardless of nominee. Hillary is stronger there than you think. 239/222.

This leaves MO, AR, OH, PA, KY and TN. There's also WV, which really should be considered a swing state.

Hillary could win them all, and will win OH, PA and AR, and will flip WV back to the Dem column. 291/247 and the Dems win. If she takes back Tennessee and Kentucky, last won by Bill, it's 310/228. Hillary is immensely popular with white, working class voters in both those states. If she takes Missouri, also last won by Bill, we are at a Dem victory of 321/217. Given the way voters, especially white, female working class voters, turned out in these states for her, I think her chances are very, very good. If she squeaks out Florida, and I think her unwavering committment to the Dem voters there is going to give her a boost, we're talking 348/190. Almost a repeat of Bill Clinton in 1996, and for pretty much the same reasons.

On the other hand, Obama might win PA. 260/278 and the Dems lose. I personally think he won't hold Pennsylvania, and the electoral outcome will be 239/299. Toss in a Michigan loss due to Romney on the Rep ticket and it is 222/316.

Why do I think he loses the states above that Hillary wins? Look at the counties he loses in those states (use the NYTimes site, good county maps). Put the maps togther and you see that he loses the Appalachian counties and the rural white vote. These states, the border swing states, are where he is weakest, weaker than either Hillary or McCain. He was not popular in the Ohio counties where Kerry lost the last election and where Bill and Hillary are popular. He lost the rural white vote in Missouri to Hillary and would lose it again to McCain. Ditto Tennessee. Kentucky will be like Tennessee and southern Ohio. West Virginia is smack dab in the center of that region that isn't that into him - if he isn't popular in Ohio, western Virgina and Tennessee, he won't have any strength in WV.

In short, Obama wins the same states as John Kerry in 2004, plus New Mexico, while Hillary wins all of those states, plus most of what Bill won in his two elections.

That is how the electoral math works out. A super-double-plus-bad economy knocks the wind out of St. John's sails, and people tune out the right wing noise machine on Hillary because yadda-yadda, they've heard it all before. If anything, they get offended on her behalf. No new dirt, no claims of anti-Americanism, no questioning of her loyalty to the nation, plus she will pull the Hispanic vote in, plus she stands to bring out a lot of cross-over female Republican votes. The Democratic core has already voted to support her, even in the contests she has lost.

Obama gets bupkiss outside of the die-hard party loyalists, plus he has to deal with significant defections from angry Hillary voters who will not regard his nomination as legitimate, plus he has to deal with the specter of Rev. Wright (and now we know why the Republicans have been pushing his nomination so hard, don't we?). Hillary supporter protest voters could be as high as 15%, well over the margin of victory in swing states where the bulk of them are located.

In a one-day, 50-state election, Hillary wins all the Dem base and expands it back into Clinton territory. And that's a good thing.



Anonymous said...

>>Appalachian counties

Yep, they are Reagan Democrats. Kerry and Gore could not win them but Hillary can. Obama has no chance in OH after NAFTA-GATE there.

I am hoping that we can get WV and AR back.

Anonymous said...

i'm HRC all the way. but I think whoever wins the nomination will lose the general w/o a unified ticket. I agree there could be as high as a 15% defection rate of HRC supporters, but I think that figure will be just as high for disgruntled obama supporters. i think there would be enough angry obama supporters in Mich and Fl. to cost her the election in both states. Only way to salvation is a unified ticket. too bad pelosi keeps saying "never gonna happen."

Anonymous said...

Great analysis Anglachel.
Anonymous #2: I think Obama has more to lose. Of course Clinton will lose Obama supporters but I believe the number will be smaller than the number of Clinton supporters who will either sit out the election or vote McCain. Anglachel explained why before.
Obama's candidacy is illegitimate because of MI and FL as well as undemocratic caucuses in red states. I also believe he has already lost many of his original independent and Repub supporters after the Rev. Wright controversy. I've read all over the web how people wish they had known about Wright sooner because they wouldn't have voted for him. These people will likely go to McCain. Clinton will likely keep the Democratic base which includes the large number of Reagan Democrats that we've lost in the last two elections. This base is much larger and more crucial than say youth voters. I'm not saying Clinton can easily woo these youth voters but historically this group cannot be counted upon to help win an election. I've studied the NYTimes maps and Anglachel is right. In places like Missouri for example, Obama can only take the cities which have large AA populations. He loses everywhere else. More than likely Obama and Clinton will take the strong Democratic states regardless of hard feelings among their supporters right now. Places like CA, NY, MA, and HI are no brainers. They will go Democrat regardless of the candidate.
The places we need to worry about are the swing states and the red states Kerry and Gore lost. Obama has already screwed himself over in MI and FL. Even if there are angry Obamabots in those states, they are unmatched by the number of core Democrats who are just plain angry at the DNC and Obama for disenfranchising them. That anger is going to cost Obama more than Clinton with the Obamabots.
A unified ticket would probably solve the problem of defected voters but again Obama has the bigger problem if he is at the top of the ticket. I believe AA voters will vote for Clinton if Obama is the VP. Many Clinton supporters will not accept Clinton as VP and I personally would not want to vote for Obama if Clinton was his VP. I just think that Obama belongs in the VP spot. This Wright controversy is bigger than he is. He will not be able to control it in the election. This will be like the swiftboat campaign against Kerry. He will also lose all of the Reagan Democrats, and many Hispanics and Asians and working class whites. So Obama has the youth vote, AAs who can't even carry him in states lik SC and MS, and the liberal elite in states any Democrat can win. That is the reality Anglachel has just presented to us. It's over for Obama.

gendergappers said...

I'd like to see someone like John King [CNN] and his little magic election map demonstrate this - aw, I'm dreaming, it would never happen. msm's role is to keep the truth from the electorate and pimp BO. Matthews called his speech worthy of Lincoln, but of course, his legs must have been tingling.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm the crazy one here, but I think California is in play for McCain with Obama on top of the ticket. People forget that CA only became a "solid" blue state in the last 10 to 15 years. That's why McCain said he was gonna campign in CA.

I don't think McCain wins it. But Obama would have to spend a lot more time and money campaigning in CA than Hillary would. The Asian population, a good sized voting bloc in Cali, is showing a lot of resistance to Obama.

Plus, no one is considering latino defection. One of the issues that makes McCain unacceptable to the Coulters if the world, less than insane immigration views, makes him bearable to Mexican-American voters.

The Wright videos is going to hit latinos really hard. Catholic church goers are going to freak when they see those videos. All latinos, regardless of national heritage, see themselves as patriotic. When you factor in illegal immigrants are dying trying to enter the country, anti-American views are really brutal.

Unknown said...

lets us see a live example of how a White Noise machine work.When we accidentally turn our tv or radio to a station with no broadcast, we get static, snow, and white noise. Why do we get white noise at all? If there isn’ta broadcast, shouldn’t it just be a dead screen or silence? ...In the same way the white noise generators also mesmerize and let us to sleep for long hours.......

Anonymous said...

Nice string of dubious assumptions to reach a pre-determined conclusion. The blatant falsehoods gave it extra spice!

Anonymous said...

You know, Obama, his campaign, the DLC, the MSM, Kennedy, Kerry and Pelosi all knew about Obama's preacher. They all thought that Obama would have the nomination sewed up before the news got out.
Remember when we were all so proud of our slate of candidates and said we could vote for any one of them? Weren't we naive? They all wanted this race over long ago, so that we wouldn't see how they have strongarmed this nomination process in favor of Obama, or more acurately, against Hillary. An ugly face is floating to the surface of the democratic party. I wonder if they will let it break the surface.
They thought they had a "shoe in" and never mind about Obama's preacher, or how they treated their democratic base, a democrat was going to win in Nov. and they didnt want it to be Hillary. They just didn't think they were going to have to get so rough with the base that their hand started to show.
Well they can't count on me, I'll stay home and watch. And I hope that if Obama gets the nomination, all the Obama-bots who go out to vote in Nancy Pelosi's district do their Obama-duty and then forget about voting down the ticket and leave her twisting in the wind.

Anonymous said...

After making sure today that the Michigan voters will be disenfranchised, just like the Florida voters, Obama will not win Michigan. Kerry only carried Michigan by 3%. McCain has strength among the White working-class voters there. Obama will also lose Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Democrats lose in a mini-landslide.

Clinton definitely wins this election, because she carries all the Kerry states plus Ohio and Arkansas. She might get more, like West Virginia or even Florida. Obama is s aure electoral loser, unless he can find a sex scandal to pin on McCain in the way that Jack Ryan conveniently disappeared as an opponent for him in Illinois. So the Democrats can cheerfully push themselves over the cliff once again. Let's see if they are so afraid of Black anger that they cavalierly disregard this obvious electoral math, and the clear wishes of the Democratic base.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Anglachel, you really need to start sending these to the DNC and every Super Delegate. Your posts are telling a story that the MSM and Obama campaign don't want us to know. I agree that Obama spells disaster in November - even before the Wright tapes came out. And now, he is completely dead in the water. I'm already shuddering at the 527's that will be playing non-stop if he is the nominee.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember seeing a post late last week about Ferraro's words being the same as those used by Obama about himself? If yes, could you e-mail me at coyotecreek158@yahoo.com.


Anonymous said...

Great post. Talk Left posted another analysis by William Arnone titled Key States in the 2008 Presidential Election. This guy is a longtime democratic strategist who worked with RFK amongst others. Obama will continue to split the party and his latest tactic will be to split the catholic vote. The democratic catholic vote is statistically behind HRC. He has probably offered the VP to Richardson which is why he has come out in support of Obama, using the lame excuse of Obama's lame race unifying speech. Now why would Richardson who has a positive political history/relationship to the Clintons support Obama suddenly? Could it be in reaction to the excellent piece written by that foreign policy guy, Former whistle-blowing ambassador Joseph Wilson of Plame fame and exposing the fictional yellow cake. How does this devide the catholic support of Clinton? Right down the middle. Latinos and Hispanics, and those who politically identify with liberation theology ( diffuses Wrights ethno-centric variation of it to make it more palatable to those catholics sympathetic to the original movement in Latin America ) and devides them from other catholic votes who were sceptical of the movement, not for it's politics so much but it's theological interpretation of radicalizing Jesus. This theology was in direct contradiction to catholic doctrine as expressed by Pope John Paul II. Obama with the his accomplice Richardson will seek to devide the catholic vote, just as Obama has sought to devide the womens vote. By the time this race is over, the party will be so devided it will take a long tiome to recover. This race is close because part of the base chooses to support Obama, and he garners independents, and the illusionary cross over republicans. If you takeaway the independents, cross overs ( who are really dem's for a day ) and the historic youth vote (who generally don't vote in Nov. in very large numbers) and faction in that most of his wins have been caucuses, it's pretty clear he won't win the national general election. He won't win because he hasn't got the majority of the base. Most of the base are real democrats who have seen alot of politics and are casting a sceptical eye at the candidate of unity. Most of these democrats are pretty disgusted with Dean, and the idolish enthusiasm of the Obama supporters. Most of these democrats remember what the Clinton administration did to lower the national debt. and create a surplus. Most of them think her economic and healthcare package is better. Most of these people, whie disgusted by the circum,stances of the impeachment still regard ol' Bill as a great president and admire his smart wfe. Most of this base has common sense and are older and wiser. These voters are not afraid of a strong woman. Obama may think he'll win California with the hispanic vote in the general using Richardson. It's a fallacy. Obama is preventing Florida from being counted. McCain will support moderation in immigration reform so Obama won't gain much, he'll just split another faction of the democratic base and Hillary supporters, the Catholics. Won't work in Pennsylvania.